Much like the Chicago Cubs' hopes of signing Shohei Ohtani were dashed at the Winter Meetings earlier this month, the same could be said for their interest in Yoshinobu Yamamoto.
In a broad sense, yes, the Cubs were going to be interested in Yamamoto. Yamamoto has the potential to be the best pitcher to make the transition to Major League Baseball from Japan and is only 25 years old. Given his age, there was a likelihood that Yamamoto was going to make history with his first Major League contract and the bidding was reaching a point where the Cubs had never gone with any player before, let alone, a starting pitcher.
History was confirmed on Thursday night when Yamamoto agreed to a 12-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers worth $325MM. Yamamoto's deal with the Dodgers is the largest that any pitcher has signed in the history of Major League Baseball.
Whether their philosophy proves to be right or wrong, the Cubs were never going to match that type of deal from the Dodgers. To that end, in the aftermath, reporting seems to suggest that the Cubs were never really involved.
The price of doing business for a big-market team is going up in Major League Baseball. That was one of the biggest takeaways from last off-season and has only been proven this winter with the deals signed by Ohtani and Yamamoto. At some point, the Cubs will need to be involved in these types of signings. The Cubs were lucky last off-season when they were able to reach terms on a team-friendly deal with shortstop Dansby Swanson but that form of luck is not sustainable for how the market is trending.